Town / Landscape

About the North Korean city and its scenery as seen by foreign tourists and foreign correspondents.

On the left and right of the row of poplar trees that stretch straight into the evening sky, paddy fields that have just caught rice harvesting spread, people walking with farming tools, people walking with cows and carts, goats and ducks (requires soaring materials Since raising livestock is difficult, the policy of General Secretary Kim Jong Il has started the “Exercise to turn grass into meat” from the 1990s, and the breeding of herbivorous livestock has been promoted.) A person who is riding two people on a bicycle. Everyone is rushing home after a day’s work. (Misato Yanagi “Pyongyang Summer Vacation”)
By the end of the 1980s, perhaps the first time since the Korean War, the right to take a day off a week was available. Compared to the tastes and mid-eighties of the eighties, citizens enjoying a stroll every Sunday have become more visible on the streets of Pyongyang, Peony Peak, Mt. Oshiro, and other parks and amusement parks. For example, on Botan Peak and Mt. Oshiro, there are many places where you can sit down on the grass or on a tree on Sundays, drinking alcohol, wine, and most of them beer.
Many people sell gambling on the main tiles (trumps). People in this country are not good at reading books or taking a rest on the way, and are always enthusiastic about gambling. (Alexander Zhebin, The Kim Dynasty I See)
On a rocky area near Datong River, middle school boys in dark blue uniforms are sketching. There is no other person. (Katsuhiro Satsuma, “North Korea as seen by Godzilla”)
Under the light of the streetlight, you can see something moving black. If you look closely, you look like a person. As I got used to my eyes, I found many. A laughter came out. Mothers with their faces wrapped in mufflers are walking with brooms.
The clock is just past half past four.
“Pip-pip, pip-pip, pip-pip” The sound of the alarm jumped and the curtain was opened. The soldiers marching in four columns with crackling military shoes.
From the other side, a group wearing dark blue people’s clothing came with a labor song. Here, they are not in line with each other but are in platoon. It is the work of the citizens. (Ibid.)

Next is the North Korean town and its scenery as seen by North Korean defectors.

There was one wide road in the town of Onsong, and only that road was paved with asphalt. On each side, there were five or six-story houses and public offices. A station with a portrait of Kim Il Sung and Kim Jong Il in front was also nearby. This street did not have a name, but so did other streets, and naming points on the map would benefit enemy invaders such as the U.S. Imperialist and the South Puppet regime. Was thought. Follow the asphalt-paved highway and you will reach the foot of a certain mountain.
A communication tower stood there, and a red light was lit at the tip.
However, due to the lack of electricity around 1995-96, the sign lights gradually faded, turned orange, turned dark brown, and eventually disappeared completely.
In Kim Il Sung Park in the center of the town, there was a huge painting depicting a great leader. The painting was covered in glass and fitted on a marble pedestal. The height of the pedestal was more than 5 meters.
Kim Il-sung in the picture is responding to the cheers of the crowd swinging the bouquet. As in other towns, there were portraits of Kim Il Sung everywhere up to the coal mine tunnel in Hidden City, but the portrait of Kim Il Sung Park was the largest.
Most striking, however, was a giant statue of Kim Il Sung in military uniform surrounded by soldiers. To get there, you have to climb a marble staircase as wide as the main street.
It took me enough to climb. The statue is so large that it will be difficult even for elementary school children to climb on the giant shoes of a great leader.
The pedestal alone was taller than an adult, so I had to raise my head a lot to see the statue and my eyes. Probably, it was purposely made like that. This solid Kim Il Sung, comparable to a four-story building, wore a large coat.
He was not wearing a hat, waving one hand, and holding the child up in the corner with the other. Behind them, soldiers in hats with red stars are raising machine guns and rifles.
The light illuminating the statue was huge, measuring one meter in diameter. The lights were still shining, even when the power shortage got worse and no light bulb lit the town. The potted flowers lined up in front of the statue’s pedestal were always carefully watered and replaced as soon as they began to wither.
Behind the square were two large reliefs, engraving the soldiers facing the Japanese invasion. It is a relief praying for the battle of Wang Jiansan.
Around the large relief was a long poem written by Kim Il Sung, describing how brave he was in the battle. (Kang Hyuk, Children of North Korea)
Only the statue of Kim Il Sung is lit at night in Hesan. (Park Yong-mi, “The Choice to Live”)